MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry University men’s basketball team hosts No. 6 Florida Southern at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Buccaneers (14-4, 5-4 Sunshine State Conference) are in a three-way tie for second in the league. Florida Southern (19-1, 8-1) owns a three-game lead over Barry, Nova Southeastern and Tampa at the top of the standings. Seven teams in the SSC are separated by a game.
In the first meeting of the season, Barry lost 95-79 to the Moccasins in Lakeland on Jan. 4. The Bucs led by eight with 12:03 to play in the first half before the then-No. 4 Mocs came back to win. It was the Buccaneers’ first loss of the season after winning nine straight to open the year.
“They play extremely fast, and they force you into making mistakes, so we’ve got to stay with the game plan and don’t play their game,” senior forward Magne Fivelstad said. “We know if we have a good day we can compete with them. We just have to play our basketball for 40 minutes.”
Wednesday will mark the third time Barry will be meeting a ranked opponent. The Bucs are 1-1 against ranked teams this year, having beaten No. 13 Livingstone before Christmas in the Lynn Holiday Classic. Barry climbed to No. 25 in the National Basketball Coaches Association Division II poll entering the first meeting with Florida Southern. The Bucs received one vote in this week’s poll after collecting 12 last week.
Barry had won four in a row before losing, 68-67, at Tampa Saturday. Florida Southern suffered its first loss, an 82-76 setback at Rollins, last week before beating Nova Southeastern at home Saturday.
Kevin Capers leads the Mocs in scoring (19.3) while averaging four assists per game. Dominic Lane is averaging 14.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, but is not expected to play. Stephen Battle is third on the team in scoring (10.2), and Tyler Kelly is the team’s leader in assists (4.2). Kelly, Lamar McKnight and Frank Adams are each averaging over nine points per game.
The Mocs are pulling down 40.3 rebounds per game. Barry, which lost the rebound battle in Lakeland, 46-36, is averaging 39.6 boards per game. Barry’s Yunio Barrueta (8.7) and Fivelstad (7.8) are among the top five in the SSC in rebounding, while Savad Garner (7.3) is seventh.
“It’s my last year, my last chance to win something here, so I want to make the most of it,” said Fivelstad, who’s scoring 10.9 points, while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 82.7 percent from the free throw line.
Freshman Arie Williams has boosted his scoring average to 6.2 points per game while shooting 43.9 percent from 3-point range. He’s been a linchpin to the Buccaneers success in the second part of the season.
“He’s given us another scorer,” Fivelstad said. “You can never have enough scorers. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
Barry has held its past six opponents to an average of 71.5 points. The Bucs held three of those teams under 70. Florida Southern is scoring a league-best 89.7 points per game.
“We just have to have a good practice today,” Fivelstad said about a half hour before Tuesday’s team workout, “and be prepared for tomorrow.”
LAST TIME OUT: Barry lost to Tampa, 68-67 ... Yunio Barrueta’s last-second shot fell at buzzer, but was ruled a 2-pointer ... Barrueta had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
SERIES RECORD: Barry is 14-46 all-time against Florida Southern ... The Bucs’ last win over the Mocs came Jan. 8, 2011 when Barry won, 77-55, in Miami Shores ... That marked the third straight win in the series by the Bucs -- the prior two coming in the 2010 SSC and NCAA Tournaments.
EYES ON OPPONENTS: The Moccasins bounced back from their lone loss on the season with a 95-73 win over Nova Southeastern Saturday ... Kevin Capers leads the Mocs in scoring (19.3) ... Stephen Battle is averaging 10.2 ppg and 4.3 reb ... Tyler Kelly is averaging 9.1 ppg and 4.2 apg.
MOCS COACH HONORED: Florida Southern coach Linc Darner was named the Division II Bulletin National Coach of the Month for January.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Barry is 1-1 against ranked opponents this season ... The Bucs, who were ranked No. 25 when they met Florida Southern last month, also fell to Saint Leo, which was receiving votes in the NCAA Division II poll ... Barry beat No. 13 Livingstone ... The Bucs received one vote in this week’s poll after earning 12 last week.
BENNETT BOOST: Barry experienced its biggest jump of the season in the Bennett Rankings this week when the Bucs climbed to a BR 107 ... Barry was 116 a week earlier ... Florida Southern has a BR rank of 5 ... The Mocs had BR 3 last week, and have been as high as BR 1 in Week 4 ... The Bennett Rankings are based on wins-losses, strength of schedule, coaches poll rank, opponents’ W-L, opponents’ schedule and a Bennett Rank algorithm.
CLOSE CALLS: In 6 of the last 7 five games, Barry has been involved in outcomes decided by 4 points or less ... One of those games went to overtime ... The Bucs are 4-3 in those games.
STARTING BLOCKS: Barry lost its first game Saturday when three or four starters reached double figures ... The Bucs are 4-1 in games when four starters score in double figures ... Barry is 12-1 in games when three starters reach double figures ... Four starters had double figures Saturday.
THIEF ARTIST: Jr. G Deric Hill ranks sixth in the country in steals per game (2.7) ... He leads the SSC ... He’s had two games with a career-high six steals this season.
DIME DROPPING DERIC: Jr. G Deric Hill ranks seventh in the nation in assists per game (7.0) ... He is 12th in total assists with 126 this year ... Hill ranks eighth in school single season history in total assists.
DOWN WITH DOUBLES: Soph. F Yunio Barrueta recorded his seventh double-double of the season Saturday ... Sr. F Magne Fivelstad had his fourth double-double Saturday with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
TWIN FIGURES: Yunio Barrueta has scored in double figures in his last 12 games ... He had 13 points vs. Florida Southern on Jan. 4.
NATIONAL LEADERS: Barry ranks 12th in the nation in assists per game as a team at 18.0 ... The Bucs are 14th in the country in rebound margin at 7.9.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Fr. F Adrian Gonzalez is shooting 55 percent from the floor ... With seven or more made baskets Wednesday, he’d rank among the nation’s best FG shooters and among the top five freshmen in the country in Division II.
STEADY SHOOTING: Since Jan. 8, Magne Fivelstad has went 29 of 31 (93.5 %) from the free throw line over an eight-game stretch ... He’s been perfect from the stripe in six of those games during that stretch.
ON THE OFFENSIVE: At 6-foot-2, Jr. F Savad Garner leads the SSC lead in offensive rebounds per game (3.8) ... Barry leads the league in offensive rebounds (15.2) as a team.
ON POINT FROM THREE POINT: Jr. G Juan Ferrales leads the SSC in 3-point field goals made per game (2.9).
ARIE ON RISE: Fr. G Arie Williams has averaged 9.5 ppg in the last 6 games ... He’s hit 15 3-pointers in that stretch ... Williams is shooting .439 from long range, which ranks third in the SSC.
MAKE-A-WISH: Barry will host a special event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation between the women’s and men’s game vs. Rollins Sat. Feb. 22 ... Make-A-Wish is an NCAA Division II fundraising initiative ... Barry is raising funds to grant a few area kids wishes ... To donate to the cause, call 305-899-4823.
SSC TOURNAMENT: Fans wanting to purchase tickets SSC Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., March 5-8 should call 305-899-4823.
BUCS RECORD WHEN ...
Overtime Games: 1-0
Home Games: 9-1
Road Games: 3-3
Neutral Games: 0-0
Night Games: 12-2
Day Games: 3-2
Leading at Halftime: 9-3
Trailing at Halftime: 5-1
Tied at Halftime: 0-0
After a Loss: 2-1
Scoring 80+ points: 9-1
Scoring 70-79 points: 4-2
Scoring 60-69 points: 1-1
Scoring 50-59 points: 0-0
Games Decided by 2 points or Less: 3-2
Games Decided by 5 points or Less: 6-2
Games Decided by 10 points or Less: 8-3
Games Decided by 11-20 Points: 3-1
Games Decided by over 20 Points: 3-0
Outrebounding Opponents: 12-3
Opponents Outrebound Bucs: 2-1
Matching Opponents in Rebounds: 0-0
Committing 10 or Fewer Turnovers: 3-1
Committing 11 or More Turnovers: 11-3
5 Starters Reach Double Figures: 1-0
4 Starters Reach Double Figures: 4-1
3 Starters Reach Double Figures: 12-1
2 Starters Reach Double Figures: 14-4
1 Starter Reaches Double Figures: 14-4
Shooting 50% or Better FG: 4-0
Shooting 40-49% FG: 8-3
Shooting Under 40% FG: 2-1
Opponents Shoot 50% or Better FG: 5-2
Opponents Shoot 40-49%: 6-2
Opponents Shoot Under 40%: 3-0
Shooting 80% or Better FT: 5-1
Shooting 70-79% FT: 3-1
Shooting 60-69% FT: 6-2
Shooting Under 60% FT: 0-0
Opponents Shoot 80% or Better FT: 3-1
Opponents Shoot 70-79% FT: 4-1
Opponents Shoot 60-69% FT: 4-2
Opponents Shoot Under 60% FT: 3-0